Food Allergy 101: Red Sneakers in 195 countries.

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What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

I’ve already been at the coffee shop for more than an hour when Mr. A., my food allergy, arrives. I’m busy on my computer.

“Hi,” he says as he pulls up a seat.

Liab khau ntaub,” I respond.

He gives me an odd look. “What?”

I click a few more keys on my keyboard and read the words aloud.

Sabatilles vermelle,” I say looking directly at him.

“What are you saying?” he asks. “That’s not English.”

I smile. “May 20 is International Red Sneakers Day,” I proclaim. “I”m just looking at Google Translator to see all the ways to say ‘red sneakers’.”

He looks down. “You mean people all over the world know about Red Sneakers for Oakley?”

I tap a few more keys.

Zapatila gorria,” I say with a laugh. “It’s a big, big world. And you, Mr. A., don’t stand a chance.”

JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.


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